BATON ROUGE, LA — In an effort to share culture and strengthen tourism ties, including sports initiatives, Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne organized a shipment to France this week of 657 pounds of game-worn baseball uniforms and equipment from Louisiana college and university teams.
The items, which were used by the teams in previous seasons but are no longer needed, were donated to the Rhône-Alpes Baseball and Softball League based in the Rhône-Alpes region of France. This goodwill contribution will help to expose more French children and adults to baseball and softball—sports that are still in the fledgling stages of accessibility in France.
Five Louisiana baseball coaches donated items for the shipment, which includes approximately 250 pairs of baseball pants, 110 jerseys and 75 pairs of cleats, in addition to assorted gloves, bats, helmets and other clothing and equipment. The participating coaches are Wade Simoneaux, head coach at Louisiana Tech University; L.J. Dupuy, head coach at Baton Rouge Community College; Joe Scheuermann, athletic director and head coach at Delgado Community College; Seth Thibodeaux, head coach at Nicholls State University; and Tony Robichaux, head coach at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Lt. Governor Dardenne was able to complete this project with assistance from L’Union Française, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the use and love of the French language in New Orleans, and the Consulate General of France in New Orleans.
“It was interesting that one of the requests made when we visited France was to help generate interest in baseball,” Lt. Governor Dardenne said. “Louisiana coaches responded generously. Though the uniforms and equipment are quite worn, the contribution is greatly appreciated by our friends in France.”
This donation is just one part of a cultural exchange program that resulted from Lt. Governor Dardenne’s cultural, educational and economic development mission to France last October. Louisiana is also represented in the Rhône-Alpes region by two traveling cultural exhibits that the lieutenant governor launched this summer. The exhibits, one portraying jazz and Mardi Gras and the other the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area, will be on display for one year throughout the Rhône-Alpes and emphasize Louisiana as a unique cultural and tourist destination.